Thursday, 21 July 2016

Night Out - The Midlands

Hi Folks

I did two “nights out” last week. I turned up at my usual time but there was a delay with some of the products (several 5 foot headboards) which actually had to be made before they could be put on the lorry. The delay was ridiculous and the manager kept appearing and commenting “are you still here? What you waiting for?” then he would disappear as if he was going to kick some ass only for the wait to drag on. 
So from 6am to 10.45am I waited and waited. My tacho card had been inserted into the lorry at 6am so I was on “other work” but after six hours of driving and other work I would have to take a compulsory 45 minute break which would seriously affect the time I had left to complete my deliveries.
I finally got away and managed six deliveries of mattresses, headboards and divan bases. I delivered to B&B’s, hotels, houses and a convent in areas such as Ware, Welwyn, Hitchin, Milton Keynes and
Bedford. This took me up to 6pm and it was time to find a place to park up and sleep. 
Being new to this night out malarkey I was none the wiser as to where best to go. I knew all the motorways had services so from Bedford I flew down the A421 to the Newport Pagnell Services. On my arrival I could see it was already rammed, in fact, there wasn’t one space. Nothing for it but to go north on the M1 to the next one.
Northampton services looked full but I could see a few spaces here and there so managed to get in between a fully loaded car transporter and an Eddie Stobarts truck. I was in no rush to walk across the
car park to pay for the nights parking so decided to organise my bunk with a sheet, a pillow and my brand new sleeping bag (£10 at Tesco). I’d also been shopping with the missus the night before and bought myself a stove, a kettle, a cooler box and filled it with “stuff to eat”. 
It felt like a home from home in my cozy truck and once I’d pulled the curtains round I was in my own little world. I got my tablet out and tethered it to my iPhone and was able to watch an episode of The X Files (I’ve started watching the whole lot of them from the beginning on Amazon Prime). At around 8pm I strolled over to WH Smiths to pay for the nights parking. £25 without or £27 with a food voucher. I’d already eaten but decided to go for the one with voucher and I would start collecting them. I’d also learned that the company prefer you to park the truck safe (or safer) at night and are happy for you to enjoy a meal on them. How many drivers can say that about who they work for?
I slept well that night and pulled out of the car park at 7.10am heading for Leicester to deliver those headboards I’d had to wait for. I followed my satnav and actually drove straight past where I had to be, got flustered and called the place up. A Chinese woman answered and asked me how I could of missed it. When I managed to find a place to turn and got back to the hotel I asked myself the same question. Satnav alone isn’t always the answer. I’ve been finding out that a bit of research is often quite helpful. Google and Google Maps more often than not has most business premises I said earlier I’m still learning.
From Leicester I had three more drops. Two in Brum and the last one in Kidderminster.
The last one was the bulk of the lorry. About 45 pieces, both mattresses and bases. As I arrived and made myself known a couple of guys started to help me unload but they soon disappeared and left me to unload the rest. There was bit of a steward’s inquiry when the numbers didn’t match up and the guy in charge went into “Old Tart Mode” and had to ring his boss to see if the order was right and why there were possibly too many beds. Then we started counting the mattresses and bases to find one short so I made him take me to every bedroom (there were 19) to physically view the mattresses myself. You had to be there to appreciate the stress. Then as if that wasn’t enough they had paid to have all the old mattresses disposed of… yours truly. I had to hump 25 mattresses which I later found out were six years old (so, six years’ worth of skin contained in them) into the lorry. It dam near finished me off. I had no help at all and everyone was off doing their own thing as I fought with every one of those beastly matts.
I did eventually get them on and set off for the long drive back to Ipswich. It was an uneventful drive but I did have to stop in a layby for a 45 break so out came the stove and I made myself a nice cuppa as the passing lorries rocked me from side to side. I pulled into the car park at the bed factory just as the work force were knocking off for the night but the manager came out to greet me and to tell me what a great job I was doing (which is always nice when you’re shown some appreciation) and that he’d see me tomorrow.
I was going to write about the next night out which took me right up to Lockerbie in Scotland but I’ll post it later on.
I’ve got a trip to the Southampton area to look forward to tomorrow so I’ll bid you good night.

Take care out there and keep them doors locked.

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